Thursday, March 27, 2008

Welcome to Sunwell!

Enjoy your wipes.

(Kalecgos to 7%, top and bottom, should be down soon!)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Minimum Gearing Requirements, And Other Myths

I had made short mention of this once before, but as time has gone on I think it's worth a full-fledged post of its own.

"Am I ready to tank ________?" This is a question that pops up quite frequently on Maintankadin. People with varying degrees of progression, with various levels of crit immunity, crush immunity, hit points, avoidance, spell damage, and whatever else happens to be important to them want to know if they're ready to tank the next boss. They want to know if they meet the "minimum requirements." Try as I may, I have a hard time looking at questions like this as anything other than laziness. And that's fine; normally I wouldn't mind at all if you'd rather just get a quick and easy answer and move on with your life. I'd make a sticky that says "You need this much stuff to do things" and point people to that. That's what I'm here for.

Unfortunately for me and everyone else, however, there are no quick and easy answers to that question. Worse, the only person qualified to answer that question is the person who asked it. There's just too many variables to the equation. Even if I just said something like "You need 12k HP to tank Prince", I'd get ten people saying "No way, that's not nearly enough" and ten people saying "I tanked him with way less than that." Your gear is only one part of a much greater picture; an important part, but a singular one nonetheless.

The fact is there's more going on than just you standing in front of something nasty letting him (or her) whap you in the face. Your healers wear gear too, and the necessary quality of your gear depends largely on the quality of their gear. Same goes for your DPS to a certain degree - you need to be able to hold aggro or you'll just be holding them back, and healers going OOM because the fight took too long is just as bad as healers going OOM because you took too much damage.

On top of all of that, there's also player skill to consider. Maybe your healers are bad. Maybe your DPS is bad. Maybe you're bad. I'm not going to hold that against anyone, but generally speaking, at least in PVE, you can take a bad situation, throw some gear at it, and come out on top.

Honestly, I think the whole thing comes from a poor perspective on tanking. Until you're wearing the best gear available to you, with the best enchants and best gems, there are upgrades. You should make it your goal to get those upgrades. Don't worry about meeting any artificial "minimums," just focus on getting the best gear you can. Unless you're a freshly ebayed level 70 with nothing but some random greens that the leveling service happened to equip (in which case, you don't deserve to be tanking things), someone else has probably already tanked whatever it is you're looking at, and in worse gear. Whether it's a good idea or not depends on the 4, or 9, or 24 other people you're there with. Leave that decision up to the raid leader, or if you are the raid leader, you should have a handle on how things have been going - make a judgement call. That's your job.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The "Main Tank" Conundrum

I'd actually been meaning to post my thoughts on this issue at some point, but this thread on Maintankadin prompted me. In it, the OP asks "How do you feel about having an assigned Guild MT?" and more specifically, the drama and dissidence it can cause. So, I figured I'd repost my response here.

The only thing worse than having a set MT is having tanks who get bent out of shape over not being the set MT. It's easy to say "Having an MT just causes drama" but that's not quite accurate - having an MT can be a catalyst, but the jealousy of the other tanks is what causes the drama.

I'm in the somewhat uncommon position of being not only a Protection Paladin, but the Raid Leader and Tanking Officer as well, in a progression-focused guild. This resulted in being forced not only to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the Protection Paladin and be the best Prot Paladin I can be, but at the same time to remain as unbiased as possible and put myself and the other tanks (mostly Warriors) in the positions that everyone is best suited for.

On top of that, even beyond simple class comparisons, it's often best for progression purposes to keep people performing similar tasks from encounter to encounter. Picking up and offtanking an add is significantly different than getting a misdirect and spamming your threat rotation for the rest of the fight, so if one of my tanks is really good at performing one of those tasks then I'm quite likely to want to put them in a similar position for the next encounter. This effectively creates a "Main Tank" position even though I never assigned anyone the title; I've got one Prot Warrior who I usually stick on the Big Bad Guy, and then other tanks pick up adds, or hold secondary aggro, or do whatever else the encounter calls for.

I don't think arbitrarily switching up who tanks what is good for progression. One could make the argument that if Tank A isn't there, Tank B should be able to step in and take their position... but either way you've got a tank who hasn't tanked that specific mob before, and it ultimately doesn't matter if Tank A is around or not when it happens, so I'm perfectly content to just let Tank B learn the fight when he or she needs to. Once we had everything on farm I was happy to swap things around a bit just to let people experience different aspects of the encounters, but until that point, speed is a factor, and risking unnecessary wipes due to inexperience or unfamiliarity when you don't need to is silly.

In addition, as a Prot Paladin, I am the best suited tank in the raid for picking up adds or generating burst threat. This means that on a lot of encounters, I don't MT. Even though I'm perfectly capable of filling that position, the other tanks aren't as capable of filling mine.

In short, having an assigned, title-wearing "Main Tank" might not be the best thing ever, but letting yourself get bent out of shape over it is worse.

I'll make mention that we don't prioritize gear to any of our tanks. That's an outdated holdover from pre-BC raiding where you only needed one tank with gear for most of the endgame content, which is no longer the case.